Year in review: Legal matters

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September 3

Court: Argent, Friese borrowed $12 million … then didn’t pay it back

Former Colorado Springs banker and resident Chad Friese and his firm, The Argent Company, borrowed nearly $12 million from dozens of individuals and their retirement accounts, but did not pay it back, according to court documents.

A civil lawsuit filed in June 2011 in El Paso District Court by more than 60 people, their retirement accounts and businesses sought a return of the money.

In another case, The owner of a Gold Hill Mesa home filed suit in September against the builder, saying the home is not as energy-efficient as the builder purported.

Further, the builder knew the home wasn’t as energy-efficient during the sales process, said homeowners Hannah Polmer and William Robert Rudge in their lawsuit against Hi-Point Home Builders LLC, Wayne Intermill, G.J. Gardner Homes and M. Brook Swientisky.

“I don’t believe we misled her,” Intermill said. “She’s got a very high-performing house.”

Intermill said he was surprised by the suit.

They bought the house partly because of the touted energy efficiencies, which include photovoltaic solar panels and ground-source geothermal heat, Polmer said.

In another case, former Colorado Securities Commissioner Fred Joseph said he will appeal a court decision rendered in October in favor of oil and gas developer Reed Cagle, HEI Resources Inc. and Heartland Energy Development Corp.

After a seven-day trial in October, District Judge Michael A. Martinez ruled in favor of HEI in stating the company sold joint ventures, not securities. Under the Colorado Securities Act, persons must be licensed to sell securities; in selling interest in joint ventures, no such licensing is required.